ECR Webinar: Rethinking Inequality in the MENA Region

ECR Webinar: Rethinking Inequality in the MENA Region

With the COVID-19, inequality within the MENA region has only widened further. The question arises what efforts can be undertaken to tackle the societal effects of the pandemic.


This webinar will reflect critically on the definition of inequality within the MENA and also discusses the potential of social policy and a solidarity wealth fund to tackle the rising poverty headcount within the Arab States. For this webinar, we will be joined by Dr. Khalid Abu-Ismail and Dr. Vladimir Hlasny from UN-ESCWA, and Mr Nadim Houry from the Arab Reform Initiative.


The event is a closed event, and will adhere to the Chatham House Rule: When a meeting is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.


The first part of the event will be recorded. The recording will be turned off during the discussion. We request all attendees to please not turn on their camera during the first part, your consent will be requested during the registration. Should you change your decision, please contact us at tamara.kool[at]


This is the second event in a series of webinars organised in the framework of MENASP’s Early Career Researchers initiative. The ECR webinar series aims at discussing relevant social policies related topics which are current and relevant to the region.


The webinar is open for early career researchers who are either working toward finishing their PhD, finished their PhD, in academic training, independent researchers, or anyone who self-identifies as an early career researcher.


  • Date: 4 March 2021
  • Time: 13:00 – 14:15 UK Time
  • Platform: Zoom. Register here.



About the speakers


Dr Khalid Abu-Ismail is senior Economist at UN-ESCWA, ERF Policy Affiliate and former UNDP Policy Adviser and Faculty Member of the Economics Department of the Lebanese American University. He is the lead author/co-author of over 20 UN Flagship publications including “Arab Vision 2030 Report” (ESCWA, 2015), “Arab Development Challenges Reports” (UNDP, 2009 and 2012), “Arab Middle Class” (ESCWA, 2014), “Rethinking Economic Growth” (ILO and UNDP, 2012), “Arab Multi-Dimensional Poverty Report” (LAS, OPHI, UNICEF and ESCWA, 2017) and “Rethinking Inequality in Arab Countries” (ESCWA and ERF, 2019). He has a D.Phil. in Development Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York.


Dr Vladimir Hlasny is an economic affairs officer with UN-ESCWA (Beirut), within the poverty and inequality research team. He was previously an associate professor of Economics at Ewha Womans University (Seoul). His work is concerned with labor market conditions and the distribution of economic outcomes in Asia and the Middle East. His research has been published in general-interest journals including the World Bank Economic Review, Review of Income and Wealth, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Development and Change, and Social Science Quarterly. PhD in Economics from Michigan State University.


Mr Nadim Houry is the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI), a leading think tank on the Middle East and North Africa region. ARI is currently leading a regional consortium working on social protection in the Arab region. Prior to ARI, Nadim was at Human Rights Watch (HRW) for 13 years where he launched HRW’s Beirut office. He has worked on political reform, accountability and human rights in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan. His own research over the years has covered a wide range of topics from abuses by security forces to socio-economic rights.

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